Many believe that Iranian cuisine is mostly meat and kebabs and vegetarians have nothing to eat in Iran. While it is true that Persian cuisine is generally famous for including meat and most restaurants do not serve vegetarian options, it is full of meatless dishes. They are not usually served in restaurants, but in major cities such as Tehran and Isfahan, vegetarian restaurants are starting to open.
Here are some Iranian vegetarian dishes:
Kashke Bademjan simply means eggplant in kashk (kashk is a thick whitish liquid similar to whey or sour cream) with onion, garlic and walnuts. Kashk is therefore the miracle ingredient in this recipe, the one that gives it all its uniqueness.
The ingredients are smoked eggplant, garlic, eggs and tomatoes. If you are vegan, you can request one without eggs. The peculiarity of this dish lies rather in the method: the eggplants are cooked on the barbecue, which brings a delicious smoky taste. Mirza ghasemi can be served as a starter or aperitif with bread, or as a main course, in this case more with rice. This dish is mostly cooked in the North of Iran.
One of the most favorite Persian foods are the different types of Aash. Aash is a kind of Persian herb soup. There are many varieties of ash in different regions. The most famous is called Ash-e Reshte, which you can find in all parts of Iran. Ash-e Reshte is a kind of thick soup with a dense texture of noodles. It’s a delicious blend of beans, herbs, and leafy vegetables like spinach. Before serving, they are garnished with fried onions, fried mint and kashk.
Rice is actually the main food Iranians eat. So, we cook it in two forms of Polow and Chelow. If vegetables or other ingredients are added to rice, it is called Polow. Adas Polow is a delicious and hearty Iranian dish made of rice, lentils, onion, raisins, and spices.
There are also other vegetarian Polow in Iranian cuisine, for example Dampokht-e-Baghala (rice with beans and dill), Havij-Polo (rice with carrots and nuts) and Dampokht-e-Gojeh (rice with tomato).
Falafels are a Levantine culinary specialty very widespread in many countries, consisting of chickpea dumplings crushed and mixed with various spices, fried in oil. Falafel is easily found all over Iran. It is one of the most famous and popular street foods in Iran. Some of the stores that prepare Falafel offer self-service so you can fill your sandwich as much as you want.
Koukou is a type of egg dish mixed with herbs similar to the Italian omelet. There are many varieties, some of which are made with different vegetables such as spinach, green beans, potatoes and mixed herbs.
Baghala Ghatogh is a specialty from northern Iran and more specifically from the regions of Gilan and Mazandaran which lie south of the Caspian Sea. This part of Iran is known for its rice fields, humid and temperate climate and delicious food. Baghala Ghatogh is made from beans, dill and eggs and is normally eaten with rice.